Mornings can be filled with uncertainty. How is the day going to go? Will I be able to get all my work done before the pain overtakes me? Will I be able to clearly think and express the thoughts that I need to function properly? Will I be disappointed if I am unable to complete a full day’s worth of work?
When I am feeling down and uncertain in the morning, one of the things that I do is something called morning gratitude practice. It is a trick that I learned from Dr. Amit Sood and his mindfulness training.
Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention inward toward the present moment via meditation and focus. It’s a practice that is meant to help those who suffer from stress, depression and anxiety. I have recently started working on this and hope to talk more about it in the future.
Morning gratitude practice is a positive way to start the day. It takes my brain away from all the things that may go bad during the day or the anxiety of everything that needs to get done. It is a way to quiet all the negative thoughts that are so prominent in our brain.
For me, I think of 5 people that I am grateful for and why I am thankful for them. The first person that I was thankful for this morning was my husband. I was thankful for his continued love and thoughtful care of me. I was also thankful that he didn’t snore last night.
The second person I was thankful for was my boss. I pictured her face smiling in my head. I thought of how we laugh at the same jokes and how laid back she is. Then I think of how thankful I am that she has been so flexible since my diagnosis.
The third “person” I thought of this morning was my cat Stella. I was happy that she had let us sleep in until 7 am without asking for her breakfast. (Let’s just say that Stella is very food motivated.)
The fourth persons that I was thankful for this morning was Joe and Becky (Dave’s Brother and Sister-in-law). We typically host thanksgiving every year however it has been a rough year for me physically and financially and they were kind enough to offer to host. It means so much to know that I won’t have to make 6 dishes and won’t have to spend a week worrying that I got every last cat hair off of the couch.
The last person I was grateful for this morning was my Mom. Whenever I think of her, there is always one picture that pops in my head. It is a picture my Dad took when I was much younger. My Mom and I were sitting in the la-z-boy in the corner of the living room with the sun shining through the giant front window. She still had medium brown hair and when the sun hit it, it almost looked red. I was wearing my yellow footie pajamas, holding my favorite blanket and tucking my legs in because I could barely fit on her lap anymore. We were watching Saturday morning cartoons and she was probably gently telling me that I was going to need braces if I didn’t stop sucking my thumb. (P.S. Yeah I got braces when I was 12.)
As you see, it’s pretty short and simple. It only takes about 2 minutes. It doesn’t even have to be done in the morning. Sometimes, I forget. I jump out of bed because a cat is screaming for food or the dog has to pee or I hit the snooze one too many times and I’m going to miss the train. I start the day in a full panic, my brain starts to passively fall into negative mode and I’m already feeling stressed and tired. When I recognize that negativity, then I stop whatever I’m doing. Whether in the shower or taking the dog for a walk, I close my eyes and focus on taking several deep breaths and then quietly recite my morning gratitude. I feel my blood pressure lower and a smile starts to crawl across my face. That’s when I know that I am doing something good for me and my body.
Any form of meditation takes practice. One of the ways that I find easy to meditate is to listen to a guided meditation on You Tube. Here is the guided morning gratitude meditation from Dr. Amit Sood.
If you would like more information on Dr. Amit Sood and Mindfulness then please enjoy this video.